The survey of coleoptera was greatly enhanced by Don Goddard who was present on 29th May and also carried out a much more detailed survey for Worcestershire Wildlife Trust on 2nd October 1999. He has written a little about his more outstanding records and the species lists from his report are appended facsimile
Green-veined White (K McGee)
Speckled Wood (K McGee)
Narrow-banded 5-spot Burnet
Shaded Broad-bar (larva)
Common Marbled Carpet (larva)
Latticed Heath (K McGee)
Muslin Moth (larva)
Last year (1998) I was working for the National Trust on a one-year contract recording invertebrates and commenting on the effect of various management regimes on properties in southern England. Many of these properties included chalk downland and most had a rich beetle fauna. Worcestershire has very little chalk escarpment and being further north I did not expect to find as many 'goodies' as I did on the South Downs. I was mistaken!
On getting out of the car by the reserve entrance I almost trod on the first rarity, Cryptocephalus aureolus an attractive metallic green leaf beetle sitting on Hawkweed flowers, Hieraceum sp. Further searching revealed about another twenty or so of these beetles, many in copula. They clearly breed here and were not just visiting. This nationally scarce category B species is generally associated with Hawkweeds and has also been recorded on Rock Rose Helianthemum sp. Although it is more commonly found in southern counties it is a widespread species and has been recorded right up to North East Scotland. C aureolus can be confused with a similar, commoner species C. hypochoeridis (L), however, C aureolus is larger, virtually always over 6mm usually with a coppery tinge whilst C. hypochoeridis rarely exceeds 5.5mm and is usually a darker bluish green without the coppery tinge. As is often the case the only foolproof way of distinguishing doubtful specimens is to dissect out the male genitalia.
Further searching on the verge revealed a rich assemblage of insects including another nationally scarce species:
Pseudotrichapion astragali (Paykull) (Nationally Scarce Category A)
A shining, metallic, golden- green weevil about 3mm in length. The larvae feed on the flower heads of the only known foodplant, wild liquorice Astragulus glycyphyllos. This attractive weevil is widely distributed throughout the country but since 1970 it has only been recorded from four vice counties (five now including the present record). The species used to be called Apion astragali, the subgeneric name (Pseudotrichapion) used in the in the current RES key (Morris 1990) was raised to full generic status, then the generic name was changed to Pseudoprotapion in the in corrections to the key(Morris 1993) whilst the latest continental work uses the name Protapion (Gonget 1997). All these name changes can be very confusing for beginners (and more experienced recorders!). For ease of general understanding it is often best to stick to the name given in the most recently published key.
A number of local weevils were also found on this verge, Gymnetron labile, which feeds on ribwort plantain, Eutichapion ononis, which feeds on restharrow, and Oxystoma craccae, which feeds on vetches. These species were not found on the reserve although this does not imply that they do not occur on the reserve grassland, did anybody else record these species?.
The road verge is not strictly part of the reserve and the faunal composition was essentially identical to that found on the grassland parts of the reserve. The main difference was that the numerical abundance of species was much greater on the verge than in similar grassy habitats on the reserve. A partial explanation for this may be the shorter turf and greater amount of bare patches on the verge.
Other scarce beetles recorded on the reserve are listed below.
Harpalus azureus (F) (Nationally Scarce Category B)
A medium sized ground beetle feeding on seeds, found on open clay sites in coastal areas and sunny chalk and limestone slopes such as open grassland and quarries. Adults have been recorded from April to August. The species is locally a distributed from the Midlands southwards. In Worcestershire this beetle appears to be restricted to open, calcareous habitats. One specimen found on the path through one of the central paddocks.
Platydracus latebricola (Gravenhorst) (Nationally Scarce Category B)
A medium sized rove beetle with reddish elytra, recorded from woodland, limestone grassland, and wet meadows. This species occurs under moss, stones and amongst herbage. Has been recorded with ants: Formica rufa and Myrmica sp. This specimen was close to one of the mounds formed by the yellow meadow ant Lasius flavus (L) Adults have been recorded from April to August. Widely distributed but local throughout the UK. Worcestershire status unknown.
Agrilus sinuatus (Olivier) (Nationally Scarce Category A)
A jewel beetle occurring in pasture-woodland, downland, wood edges, old hedgerows and scrub. Associated with old hawthorn bushes. The larvae develop in dying branches. The characteristic 'D' shaped emergence holes of the adults are more often found than the adults themselves. This is true of the current record. Several of the old isolated hawthorns had these 'D' shaped holes. Without finding adult beetles or larvae under the bark it is difficult to know how recent these holes are unless anyone else found this beetle on the day? Peak adult emergence usually occurs in July and August in hot, sunny weather. Very locally distributed from Herefordshire southwards. Threatened by loss of old hedges, cosmetic tidying of hedges, pesticides and excessive removal of old hawthorn scrub.
Scaphidema metallicum (F) (Nationally Scarce Category B)
A darkling beetle found in a wide range of habitats including broad-leaved woodland, hedgerow, scrub, allotments, coastal shingle and estuarine beaches. Usually found in damp situations under bark of a variety of trees and shrubs, under moss, in litter and by sweeping rank vegetation. In this case it was found under loose bark on an old hawthorn. I have previously recorded this beetle in a similar situation from St. Wulstan's Reserve in Malvern. S. metallicum is widespread, but local throughout England and Wales. Threats uncertain but possibly loss of old hedgerow and woodland.
Ischnomera cyanea (F) (Nationally Scarce Category B)
A small green flower beetle found in ancient broad-leaved woodland, old hedgerows, pasture woodland and downland. The larvae develop in decaying wood of various trees including ash, beech, elm, oak, ivy and willow. Adults overwinter in pupal chambers in decaying wood. This species is fairly widespread in the county and is usually found in its pupal chamber by working dead wood in winter or, in spring and summer on umbellifer flowers or hawthorn blossom along woodland rides or old hedgerows. Threatened by loss of broad-leaved woodland and hedgerows and removal of decaying wood from living trees.
The above species were only represented by single specimens.
Windmill Hill is famed for its glow worms (Lampyris noctiluca L). I only found one specimen of this beetle, a wingless female sitting on a redundant ant hill.
In all 104 species of beetle were recorded during the day. It has been said the 'good site' is one where an experienced coleopterist can record seventy or more species in a single visit, so despite the problems of scrub invasion and dominance of the grass sward by excess Brachypodium sylvaticum, Windmill Hill is till a good site for insects.
Casual records of other groups were made but the only non-beetle worthy of note was a local chalk grassland squash bug Coriomerus denticulatus (Scopoli).
|GONGET, H. 1997: The Brentidae (Coleoptera) of Northern Europe. Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica Vol. 34
||HYMAN, P. S. 1992: A review of the scarce and threatened Coleoptera of Great Britain.(Part 1) Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Peterborough
||HYMAN, P. S. 1994: A review of the scarce and threatened Coleoptera of Great Britain. (Part 2) Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Peterborough
||MORRIS, M.G. 1990: Orthocerus Weevils, Coleoptera: Curculionoidea (Nemonychidae, Anthribidae, Urodontidae, Attelabidae and Apionidae).Handbk. Ident. Br. Insects, 5(16)
||MORRIS, M.G. 1993: British Orthocerus Weevils: Corrections and New Information (Coleoptera, Curculionoidea). Ent. Month. Mag. 129: 23-29
|WBRC Home||Worcs Record Listing by Issue||Worcs Record Listing by Subject|